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Photo provided by Lyle Johnson -- Ethan Smart, left, and Grant Bourque pose with the four bass weighing 12 pounds, 2 ounces that gave them a sixth place finish in the 2016 Costa High School Central Open on Toledo Bend and earned them a spot in the national championship.

The St. Amant Lady Gators that finished as quarterfinalists in the state playoffs had three players selected for the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 5A all-state teams.

Infielder Kourtney Gremillion, a Louisiana-Lafayette signee, was chosen. Gremillion batted .610 for the season and added 13 home runs and 62 RBIs.

She was joined by fellow infield teammate Taylor Tidwell. An LSU commitment, Tidwell handled the bat by posting a .504 batting average and added a respectable 10 home runs and 49 RBIs.

Another teammate in the outfield, Abby McKey, joined the duo on the first team. McKey had a .513 batting average with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs.

East Ascension’s Jessie Watts and teammate Claire Weinberger were selected to the team as utility players. Watts, who is a Louisiana-Monroe signee, swung the bat for a .506 batting average with 44 RBIs. Watts also was a workhorse on the mound and finished 17-11 in the circle. Weinberger is an LSU signee who batted .565 and scored 42 runs for EAHS.

St. Amant pitcher Blayne Enlow, a utility player selection, was selected to the 5A baseball squad. Enlow, a junior, helped St. Amant to the quarterfinals in the state playoffs. Adding to his accomplishments this season was his selection as the District 5-5A Co-MVP. Enlow has committed to play for the LSU Tigers and finished his senior year 6-4 with a 1.54 earned run average and 93 strikeouts in 62.2 innings.

Briggs Bourgeois commits

St. Amant High’s Briggs Bourgeois has been a successful athlete in more than one sport for the Gators, so a trip to a college that might have some interest in his abilities is not out of the ordinary. With that in mind, a visit to a camp at Southern Mississippi would fall right in line with possibilities and desired results.

After leaving the camp, Bourgeois was told to call the USM coaches after he got on the road to return home. That’s when the Golden Eagles offered the senior kicker a scholarship. After discussing the offer with his dad, Bourgeois accepted the offer a few hours later.

Bourgeois is considered one of the top kicking prospects in the South and was a finalist for the Lou Groza award given annually to the nation’s top kicker. But getting an offer for a scholarship as a kicker is not an automatic, as most schools would rather kickers walk on initially. If they make the team, an offer comes, but it’s a risk.

As a junior, Bourgeois made 15 of 19 field goals, including a long of 51 yards. His long in practice is 63 yards. Bourgeois also averaged 66 yards on kickoffs and was the top receiver for the Gators, earning co-MVP honors in District 5-5A. As a senior, Bourgeois was selected for The Advocate’s 5A-4A All Metro football team as a wide receiver and kicker. One of the area’s top receivers all season, he led the 5A Gators with 45 catches for 815 yards and 16 touchdowns. Bourgeois scored 158 points with 16 touchdowns and was the area’s most prolific kicker with seven field goals.

Bourgeois was a finalist for The Advocate’s Boys Athlete of the Year award. He earned All-Metro honors in football and soccer in 2015-16 and also plays baseball for the St. Amant Gators. Bourgeois previously had received offers from Nicholls State and Texas Southern. He plans to pursue a degree in nursing.

Two qualify for tourney

St. Amant sophomores Grant Bourque and Ethan Smart put in a hard day’s fishing and managed to scrape together a four-bass catch that weighed 12 pounds, 2 ounces in the 2016 Costa High School Central Open on Toledo Bend. Bourque also landed the big bass of the tournament with a 6-pound, 15-ounce largemouth. Those four bass and that weight also qualified the high school team for the Costa Bassmaster National Championship, tentatively scheduled for Aug. 2-6 on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee.

The duo had a few days’ practice and caught a lot of fish, but they were not the size they were looking for. Nothing changed on the day of competition, as the bass bit enough to keep things a little interesting, but the fishing was a grind as keepers were few and far between.

The boys used a one/two combination of lures to manage the catch. Bourque used a drop shot rig with a KVD Perfect Plastic watermelon/red finesse worm to put two of the fish in the live well, including his 6-pound, 15-ounce brute he caught late in the day that took top honors and pushed the team into sixth place. Smart caught the other two bass with a Texas rigged junebug/red Zoom lizard.

Bourque and Smart fished against 98 teams of anglers from 10 states that took part in the competition. The top 10 teams earned spots in the national championship on Kentucky Lake in early August, and the top 13 duos won money for their prep squads.

Toledo Bend is still the top-ranked lake in the United States, according to Bassmaster magazine, and has been yielding bags of bass that has never been seen on the tournament circuit. But on this day, the lake turned stingy as the top weight of the day was 14 pounds, 4 ounces, caught by Caleb Gatwood and Cayden Soberoski, of Oak Grove High School in Mississippi.

Both of the local avid anglers have a story that’s pretty familiar. “I started fishing when I was about 5 years old with my dad, Emmett, and really got interested in bass fishing when I was about 10,” Smart said. He’s just recently started tournament style fishing and this is his fourth tournament fishing with Grant.

Bourque is no stranger to competitive fishing, as he cut his teeth as a youngster competing in East Ascension Sportsman’s League Kids rodeo and Cabela’s Kids Fishing derbies and won plenty of them. “I started fishing when I could hold a pole,” Bourque said. “My dad (Nathan Bourque) took me fishing every time he had the chance.”

Their fishing skills will be put to the test, as the high school championship will be a three-day event instead of one. So, they have to get on fish, then manage them to last for three days of fishing. Bourque and Smart are affiliated with Ascension Area Anglers, a local Bass affiliate club that is active in helping the youth of our community in their bass fishing dreams.

A big shout out goes to Grant’s dad, Nathan, for being the captain of the boat during the tournament and Tim Carmouche for supplying the boat for the boys to use.

Lyle Johnson covers sports for The Ascension Advocate. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net or ascension@the

advocate.com.